Butler entered the Marquette matchup Friday night on a three-game BIG EAST win streak (all on the road at Xavier, Villanova, Georgetown), and the streak eventually became four with a 61-55 victory over the Golden Eagles to kick off the BIG EAST weekend at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll honoree Kristen Spolyar was able to get things rolling early for the ‘Dawgs by scoring 23 points in the first half. Genesis Parker was the only other Bulldog to score a field goal heading into the break. Spolyar finished with a game-high 30 points and nine rebounds. Marquette was led in scoring by BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll member Selena Lott with 15 points, and Altia Anderson with 13 points. The Bulldogs held the Golden Eagles to 35.5 percent shooting (22-62).
The back-and-forth game certainly wasn’t easy down the stretch for the Bulldogs, featuring five ties and six lead changes, but the Bulldogs’ instinctiveness in the fourth quarter sealed the deal. The Bulldogs trailed the Golden Eagles 49-47 with just under eight minutes to play in the fourth, but Shae Brey was able to get a steal on the defensive end while winning a loose ball battle resulting in a layup which tied the game at 49 apiece. Marquette led 53-49 with just over four minutes to play, but Shae Brey came up big for the Bulldogs once again connecting on a three-pointer.
The Bulldogs finished 61.9 percent (13-21) from the charity stripe, but the combination of Spolyar and Parker hitting free throws down the stretch complemented by a slashing, off-balance baseline runner from Naira Caceres forced a Marquette timeout and gave Butler a 57-53 lead. Butler was able to utilize free throw shooting and the clock for the remaining moments of the fourth quarter to come out on top.
Sunday afternoon was a different story, where the Bulldogs took an 80-65 loss against the #14/15 DePaul Blue Demons. The ‘Dawgs shot nearly 55 percent from the field in the first quarter, only down 14-12 to end the first. The Blue Demons quickly shifted into their hectic full-court press in the second quarter to force 11 Butler turnovers, which resulted in a 9-0 run, but the Bulldogs only trailed 36-30 at the half.
Butler held DePaul to 16.7 percent from deep (3-18), but the Blue Demons found offensive efficiency by generating a strong half-court offense in the second half. The Blue Demons’ starting lineup all manufactured double-digits in scoring (Sonya Morris, Kelly Campbell, Deja Church, Lexi Held and Chante Stonewall) with BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll member Sonya Morris with 22 points and eight rebounds on the day, along with Kelly Campbell surpassing 1,000 points. Butler was outscored 25-11 in the third quarter, and 24-19 in the fourth quarter, where the Blue Demons up-tempo mentality didn’t look back. Kristen Spolyar recorded 25 points and 12 rebounds, and Oumou Toure added 17 points and 12 rebounds for Butler, but still came up short.
The Bulldogs will be back in action next weekend at Providence and Creighton, both games will be streamed on the BIG EAST Digital Network.